Studies show that people grossly overestimate the power of their memory. To illustrate this, take a moment and try to recall everyone you spoke with last week. Now, think of every contact you need to make in the next week. Unless you have a photographic memory, it is simply not possible. It is this inability to remember that spawned products such as The Franklin Planner, Microsoft Outlook, Palm Pilot, and ACT! These products provided tremendously useful tools for managing business relationships and calendars. Today, even more powerful customer relationship management (CRM) technology is available to companies of all sizes via the Internet on a “software as a service” basis. Successful implementation of CRM technology is critical to developing long-term business relationships.
Effectively implemented CRM technologies allow organizations to manage and measure profitable relationship-building activities over an extended period of time. By utilizing CRM technology, sales representatives can easily track, plan, and manage the large numbers of prospect communications, emails, marketing, and other touches that are required to generate sufficient leads to meet aggressive sales goals. Built-in reporting tools allow management to measure their sales teams’ activities to ensure that key metrics are being met before a problem occurs. Management can also accurately measure which marketing programs are actually generating leads, versus simply providing costly “brand awareness.”
The good news is that CRM solutions are now available on a subscription-based model. Subscription-based CRM, such as Salesforce.com (or Whittaker Associates’ Lead Tracking system – WALT), levels the playing field by allowing small and mid-sized organizations to benefit from the same technologies as Fortune 500 enterprises. They require no additional investment in personnel or technology and can be quickly implemented. Most importantly, they are inherently easy to use, which helps with adoption rates.
Effectively utilizing CRM can help any company, large or small, look more professional and support high volumes of business-generating activities.